Aaron and Blair working out with medicine balls
(MERCY HEALTH PARTNERS) - Medicine balls are a great change of pace from the normal weight training workout. The variety they add can take your exercise program to the next level when you are trying to burn fat or strengthen muscle. These weighted balls are excellent at working muscles that often get ignored in typical weight training programs. So every often drop the weights and pick up a medicine ball. Here are a few of my favorite exercises.
• Big Circles - Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with a slight bend in the knees. Hold a medicine ball over your head, elbows slightly bent. Rotate your arms clockwise, using the medicine ball to draw large circles in front of your body, returning to the starting position over your head. Engage your core throughout the entire exercise.
• Wood Chop - Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. With slight bend in the elbows stand with the medicine ball above your head. Bend at the waist and bring the medicine ball backward through your legs (like you are going to throw the ball through your legs, but hold onto the ball the entire time). Quickly reverse the movement with explosive energy, returning to the staring position.
• Squat Press - Stand holding the medicine ball close to your chest, feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body until the top of your thighs are parallel to the floor. Explode up as you press the ball up over your over your head. Return the ball back to your chest.
• Standing Twist - Hold a medicine ball with both hands in front of your chest and your arms straight. Keeping your arms extended, pivot on your right foot and rotate the ball and your torso as far as you can to the left. Reverse direction, pivoting on your left foot and rotate all the way to the right side. Return to the starting position to complete one rep.
• Seated Twist - Sit on the floor with legs straight. Hold a medicine ball with both hands just above your lap. Engage your abdominal muscles and twist your torso to the right and place the ball behind you tapping on the floor. Contract the abdominal muscles and twist all the way to your left side, placing the ball behind you. Return to the starting position with the ball in front, completing one rep.
Perform this routine for 10 to 20 reps of each exercise as a stand-alone workout or at the end of your workout.